From an author described by a Top 50 Reviewer as “one of America’s criminally neglected authors,” Republic is a surprise hit described by readers as “breath-taking,” “riveting,” and “haunting.”Ken Murphy is a 45 year-old widower and senior manager at a computer chip manufacturer in quiet Highview, West Virginia. The local economy is thrown into a tailspin when the plant is suddenly shut down.Murphy must fight for healthcare for his terminally ill son. As he tries to save his son’s life, he is dragged into a deeper conflict between the forces that are ripping our nation apart.
In the midst of massive unemployment, an aggressive tone deaf government, terrorism and war, Ken Murphy will sacrifice everything for his family, but will that be enough?
To begin with let me share a quote the author includes in the opening stages of the book. It helps to paint the picture of what this book is and what its intent is.
So, while this is a fictional world, perhaps ten years in our future, it is also the world we might one day live in. In a civil war, each side believes it is right. The real danger we face, as individuals and as a nation, is of becoming so convinced that our own point of view is the correct one that we become unable to listen to anyone else’s.
In this fictional world it seems that just about everything that could go wrong does. That is kind of the author’s point. Whenever we look to the future and try to lengthen the shadow of what is currently happening to what might happen in the future there are always a number of “IF’s.” This book gives an example of what it might look like if all of those “IF’s” did happen.
The writing is very engaging. Over the course of the book you really do come to identify with the characters and their situations. One criticism is that I wish the author would have picked more distinct names for two of the main characters. “Morris” and “Murphy” had similar roles and I found myself sometimes forgetting which one I was reading about. That’s more my own problem than the author’s though!
A large portion of the book take place in West Virginia and then there is the debate and battles on the hill in Washington D.C. The author does a great job of creating characters that you are able to identify with. Some of the story line shifts seem a bit abrupt or forced but it works within the overarching story. Then through this narrative he addresses a whole host of the domestic issues that are currently being debated in the United States. I’ll just list some of the themes that stood out to me: Increased national debt, outsourcing of jobs, unemployment, restrictions on individual freedoms, homegrown terrorism, Middle Eastern terrorism, racism, extremism, religion in public life, homosexuality, reduced social programs, over-extension of executive powers. I’m sure there are even more that were interwoven into the story but those are many of the issues that stand out.
So what is the point? Well, the book ought to cause us to look at our own culture now and examine what things are taking place and where the rudder is pointed. There are some core cultural values that have shaped this nation and if not recognized and preserved they are in danger of vanishing. This book attempts to awake people out of their stupor and consider what is going on around them. It warns people of the danger of failing to understand the viewpoint of “the other” and how dangerous it can become when ideas are taken to an extreme.